Apologies for past wrongs help make a right

I was surprised and disappointed by the Oct. 12 opinion piece by Gerard DeGroot "Apologizing for past 'wrongs.' " Alas, the British Raj mentality appears alive and well!

Mr. DeGroot feels apologies should only be by the perpetrator of injustice to the actual victim involved. He seems to forget the long memories that are a part of the lives of victims, both as individuals and as members of a belittled culture - especially when descendants of victims who are still struggling for justice see descendants of perpetrators still benefiting from injustices of the past.

Thus, it is very important for those benefiting from the oppression of the past to recognize what this has done and is doing to people. And it is important for the victims to know that the dominant culture is aware of this.

Apologies and a sincere effort to right the wrong will go a long way toward creating a better world for everyone.

James R. Smucker Lacey, Wash.

Electoral college, stuff of revolutions?

Columnist Godfrey Sperling, in his Oct. 17 opinion piece "Taking political stock," raises the issue of the president being chosen by the electoral college and not the popular vote. Mr. Sperling recklessly inflames readers when he quotes pollster Mark Mellman: "If the electoral winner became the president over the one chosen by the nation's voters as a whole ... something would happen."

Selecting a president in a way that violates the Constitution would signal the break down of the rule of law! This is how dictators come to power in other nations.

If our electoral-college system needs reform, let us do it constitutionally, outside of election year politics. Our Constitution survived 1824 (when Andrew Jackson won the popular election but lost to John Quincy Adams). I pray that it survives the year 2000.

Griffith H. Williams Kenmore, Wash.

Adopting African-American children

Your Oct. 12 article "More African-Americans reach out to adopt" gives me hope that this could be a national trend.

In Seattle, Medina Children's Services (MCS) is a nonprofit organization successfully recruiting families to adopt any of thousands of children living in temporary foster care, many of whom are legally free to be adopted into permanent families.

MCS is also interviewing next of kin, neighbors, school families, and church friends to find an adoptive family match for African-American children, who are disproportionately represented among our foster care population.

I can imagine the day when parents are standing in line to adopt a child of any age, any color, and any "special" needs.

Kathleen L. Weber Kirkland, Wash.

Numb forever?

I have to echo the sentiments of Daniel Milnor in his Oct. 16 opinion piece "Being half-awake to my L.A." The shots, helicopters, flashing lights, and roaring engines are common enough in the urban landscape to prompt one of our greatest tools as an enduring species to kick in: the ability to adapt, or, as Mr. Milnor phrased it, become immune. It's a blessing and a curse.

Unfortunately, I'm fast becoming immune to pieces like this because they don't go far enough. I keep hoping someone will come up with solutions or suggestions. I'm not having a lot of luck.

If time, effort, and space have been devoted to naming the problems, and the reactions to the problems, it would be refreshing to be given some answers or at least possibilities to be tried so that more nights don't develop into a repetition of Milnor's.

Dana Starr Carmichael, Calif.

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